It’s the Small Things

No, I’m not referring to diamonds and pearls. I’m talking about the mobile user experience. In fact, last week we were meeting with a professional services IT team who was complimenting us on our email features. Their network engineering lead said, “I like the way that you have thought about email. It’s the small things which make a big difference.” So true. The mobile user experience is about small capabilities which make working from mobile devices easier.

Mobile is a new cat. Let’s face it, keying in data is slow and cumbersome compared to the desktop keyboard. Do you key with two hands on your smartphone? Not if one is clutching your briefcase or the subway strap.

The less we have to type on our smartphones, the better. If I am reading an email from Elizabeth and I want to see all of my emails from Elizabeth, I really don’t want to have to type “Elizabeth” in a search box. I want to tap to find all of my other emails from her. And if I want to find an email which Elizabeth had sent me which has an attachment, I want to narrow my search to Elizabeth’s emails with attachments by tapping as well. To advance through those emails, I want to use a swipe gesture.

One of the workflows which we are focused on is taking action on files. If my company’s files are stored behind the company firewall, e.g., in CIFS fileshares, SharePoint, and an ECM, then I want to be able to quickly access those files without typing. If I am waiting for a flight and need to send a file to a client, I want to be able to attach that file to my email in matter of a few taps. If I want to save a file to review it on that flight, I need to be able to do that with a couple of taps.

We enable all of these use cases, and more, in Link. But the work on user experience is never done and we would love your input.

Take our Link Test Drive. No software is deployed on your site. It’s an easy way to see how the little things in Link can enable you to get real work done from your smartphone or tablet. You can contact us here.

– Maureen

What Did You Do Today?

Mobility is moving on.

Today we are in Phase III.

Phase I was the BlackBerry. It was a godsend. Let’s not forget our devotion to our CrackBerries. Email-on-demand turned our worlds around. We could be in contact with our jobs no matter where we were. My first smartphone was a personally owned BlackBerry. I had global customers who were working on all kinds of schedules. I no longer had to tether myself to my notebook PC all weekend. I was free.

BlackBerries got the job done for many years. But they were a closed system.

Phase II was Mobile Device Management. The good news was that now a variety of devices, and especially those iPhones initially, could be used for work. Where I worked in those days, if you were in sales or field engineering, the company isssued you a BlackBerry. But the field engineers bought their own iPhones, and then Androids, and rigged their own access, mostly to email. Unsupported, of course. Hence, the reaction was to manage those devices. Require a pin code. Wipe the device. Onerous, yes. But the company felt compelled to take action to protect its data.

Years later, where are we with Phase II, the MDM Phase? Per GigaOm’s discussions with CIOs, we have not gotten very far. A couple of their findings:

  • Device management was limited to password enforcement and remote wipe.
  • Email was the only widely supported secure app.

Phase II leaves us in about the same place as we were in Phase I, but on more types of devices.

Now, we’re in Phase III.

What did you do on your mobile device today?

Here’s what I did today on my way to a meeting.

I received an RFP via email from one of our customers. I was headed to the train where connectivity is unreliable. I read the email and saved the attached RFP for offline access.

I reviewed the RFP on the train, offline.

Still offline on the train, I wanted to add a reference from one of our existing success stories. So, I went to my company’s List of Customer References via our SharePoint App. I found a great reference to use.

I created a proposal, including the key reference.

Back on line, I checked the proposal into our SharePoint Shared Documents site.

I emailed a link to the proposal to one of our engineers for technical review. He checked it out of SharePoint, added some specs, checked it back into SharePoint and sent me an email with a link to the document.

I received his email. I reviewed the document and his additions. It was ready to submit.

I sent an email to our customer and attached a link to the proposal. Voila. Proposal created and returned. Time for my meeting.

Phase III. It’s about moving beyond email. It’s about taking action on real work. Now.

–Maureen